LEINSTER Lightning captain George Dockrell finally got his hands on the two inter-provincial trophies which have been up for grabs in this truncated, unique season last night after completing a clean sweep of victories in the 50-over competition for the first time since 2014.
Lightning had regained the T20 Trophy last month but their final match was rained off so Cricket Ireland turned it into a double celebration yesterday, as they ended the season with a record of eight wins and two no results from their 10 fixtures.
It was not an all-conquering performance as North West Warriors took seven wickets before Lightning reached their DLS target of 132 in a game reduced by rain to 32 overs.
Two of the wickets came in the first eight balls with openers Kevin O’Brien and Jack Tector being dismissed for second ball ducks and a late season upset was on the cards when Craig Young tempted Lorcan Tucker into a loose shot and the champions were 24-3.
But this team do not rely on their international stars and, although it would be Curtis Campher who was the immovable object with an undefeated 59, Stephen Doheny led the recovery with 33 from 45 balls.
Doheny was eventually caught on the long-off boundary to give Varun Chopra his first List A wicket and debutant Conor Olphert, in for Boyd Rankin, also got among the wickets in his second spell.
After bowling Greg Ford first ball, he should have had two in two but Will Smale dropped Tyrone Kane, although Olphert got his man six balls later.
Warriors’ batting was always under pressure and only during a fifth wicket stand of 67 between Stuart Thompson and Graham Hume did they threaten a competitive total. But when,much to his surprise, Thompson was given out caught behind, the visitors added only 27 runs in the last eight overs, while losing four wickets.
When rain interrupted the game in the fourth over, it ensured Warriors would play only one full game out of 10 with five complete wash-outs. But as there was little prospect of any sort of season in April, everyone involved can look back on the 2020 season as an unqualified success.
The international programme may have been restricted to three ODIs in England — although it did include Ireland’s first win away to a top eight side outside a World Cup — and the club season was exclusively T20 action but there was a full programme of white-ball inter-provincials, men and women.
Hopefully, we will always look back on 2020 as a home season like no-other but when the next Ireland cricket campaign will be remains uncertain as the long winter stretches ahead.